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The Seventh Fire


March 16, 2017  The Seventh Fire

4still_robbasketball_theseventhfireFrom executive producers Terrence Malick, Natalie Portman and Chris Eyre comes a fascinating new documentary by Jack Pettibone Riccobono, The Seventh Fire.

Rob’s 37-year story spans 39 foster homes, five trips to prison, and a near lifelong affiliation with the Native Gangster Disciples, a criminal gang that he has helped bring to Pine Point—also known as “P-Town”—a small Native village in northern Minnesota on the White Earth Indian Reservation. Rob is more than a gangster with a long rap sheet; he is also a loving father to his daughter Persephone, and a wickedly smart and sensitive writer who aspires to literary greatness. Late in the film, the solitude and sobriety of prison life lead to Rob’s cultural awakening: he becomes the leader of the prison’s Native Culture Group and begins writing a novel about his childhood, bringing a lyrical perspective to his painful and complicated story.

On the cusp of his eighteenth birthday, Kevin finds himself at a different sort of crossroads; he has the opportunity to reconnect with traditional Ojibwe ways, but continues to be pulled towards the criminal lifestyle of his mentor. Early one morning, Kevin’s father describes to his son the significance of their clan: “Wolf clan means that’s the animal we represent. Power. Intelligence. Endurance. A wolf can be passionate and it can be very destructive.” At one point in the film we see Rob riding a motorcycle on the open road, a warrior choker necklace strapped proudly around his throat, knocking against the gang tattoo on his chest. At another moment we find Kevin trying to honor both his tribe and his gang affiliation by getting a wolf clan tattoo of his own.

Together the lives of Rob and Kevin present a devastating counter-myth to textbook notions of the American dream, and they force us to confront the modern-day ramifications of what are still the most overlooked aspects of American history.

To see the trailer visit:


 About Jack Pettibone Riccobonodirector2_jack_pettibone_riccobono_web_theseventhfire1

Jack Pettibone Riccobono (Director, Producer, Writer, DP) has produced and directed a wide range of work across the five boroughs of his native New York City and around the world, from Moscow to Shanghai to Freetown. His narrative short KILLER premiered at New Directors / New Films and won Best Short at the Nantucket Film Festival. His short documentary THE SACRED FOOD, shot on the same reservation as THE SEVENTH FIRE, premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival.  Jack received a Discovery Award from the Hollywood Film Festival for his directing work.

A graduate of Harvard’s VES Film Production Program and Werner Herzog’s Rogue Film School, his films have been screened at festivals around the world and at venues including Documenta Madrid, the Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of the American Indian, the American University in Rome, and at The White House as part of a special event addressing the most pressing criminal justice issues facing Indian Country residents today. In 2008, Jack launched the production company All Rites Reserved, dedicated to producing films with global reach that push visual and conceptual boundaries. In 2014, Jack joined the directing roster of The Amoveo Company. (The Seventh Fire press kit).

The genesis of THE SEVENTH FIRE, according to Jack Pettibone Riccobono
500 years before the coming of the white man to America, the Ojibwe Tribe, or Anishinaabe as they call themselves, received a prophecy that foretold a period of darkness and cultural destruction. It also spoke of a time when the youngest generation of Ojibwe would have a choice to return to traditional ways and lead a rebirth of their nation. Many Ojibwe believe that the moment of choice has arrived -the time of the Seventh Fire. This prophecy is where the film takes its name. In America and much of the world, there is a romanticized vision of the American Indian, and a total blind spot about the history of Native Americans and the injustices this community continues to suffer to this day. It is rare to see any contemporary images of Native life in the mainstream media or to see past the harsh statistics that tell only part of the story. My goal in making this film was to craft an immersive, character-driven work of cinema that would reveal the stories of Rob and Kevin with intimacy, empathy, and urgency, and place their personal journeys in the larger context of an unjust history that America has yet to reckon with.  (

Location and Time

The University of St. Thomas
John Roach Center auditorium (JRC 126), which is located on the corner of Summit and Cleveland Avenues.
Building 2 on St. Thomas Campus Map
Screening: 1:30-3:10
This event is free to the public

Thank you to our sponsors: Augsburg College, American Indian, First Nations, and Indigenous Studies Department, American Culture and Difference Program at the University of St. Thomas, Augsburg Indigenous Student Association, Augsburg’s Marginalized Voices in Film and Media, and the Institute for Global Studies at the University of Minnesota.